9 years ago this evening, I had several of my favorite ladies sitting with me on the floor of Bill's 1 bedroom apartment (far larger than my studio apartment) making bouquets and boutonnieres of several of the 200 roses I bought wholesale, and folding programs for the festivities of the next day. Laughs were shared, projects completed and mattresses and sleeping bags were spread out, and well before midnight, just about everyone was ready to call it a day. The next day was going to be pretty busy.
Everyone was ready to call it a night except me.
I had the excuse of "I need more tulle" to decorate the church with, so I left to make a run to up all night Meijer store to make this seemingly necessary purchase. Meijer wasn't exactly close. It was a few towns away. I'm sure I could have driven to Walmart just across the highway.
Obviously, the next day would carry on with or without more lacy fabric. I doubt anyone even noticed. But I needed to get out. I needed to breathe. I needed to think. Alone.
As you may have figured out, that next day, July 9th, 2005, was going to be one of the biggest days of my life. I was going to marry the man who was created to be exactly who I needed. A sweet, generous, annoyingly honest, intelligent and godly man.
But to tell you the truth, I had some reservations. Not about him. But about me. About marriage. About the complexities of life lived not only for myself anymore. No more survival mode. Other people were involved. I knew that everything was going to change. There was no gong back. I have always been aware of my belief system of "marriage is forever"
But you see, I had no idea what that looked like. What that meant. How do people do that? Most of the marriages I knew fell apart. Or the lengthy ones I did get to observe were terrifying. I knew a lot of what I did not want. But had little clear vision of what I did want. In a marriage.
And somehow we found one another.
And in the party section of Meijer I stood there, staring at bolts of tulle. Considering all of this. How blessed I was. But also how scared I was. This was my last evening/night as just plain old me. I would be a part of a new family. A new name. A new system. A new way of life.
I decided I was thinking too hard, and after making my purchase, made a stop at Steak and Shake on my way home for a small order of cheese fries. (most people starve themselves before weddings, right?) But fries may or may not be my stress/comfort food.
And while driving the rest of the way home, with salty and sticky hands, I decided that it was going to be okay. That I really believed that "life is what you make it". Even with the ups and downs, and I knew those would happen. I would choose to do my best. I was not alone. God was right beside me. And these had gotten me through thus far.
And 9 years later, I think about that girl in Meijer. Still the overthinker. Still married. Still sure she made the right choice, and that this is the man she prayed for long before they ever met.
Life has not taken us where I ever expected. But far exceeded where I dreamed.
There have been some incredibly tough times and moments in there. Changes. Losses to great for words. fights. Words we wish we could take back. But also adventures. Support. laughs and ridiculous inside jokes. goals and dreams met and accomplished, with many more on our list. We have a beautiful son, and another baby coming.
All in all I cannot complain. If I did, it would be about a few dishes left out of the dishwasher. Of course a few other issues that we may never resolve. Don't all marriages have those? And really, in the scheme of things, they are pretty petty.
I hope the years multiply. And even if our days end long before we are ready, I am incredibly grateful for the past 9. For there is nothing lost in love.